By Kim Young-jin
Korea’s fast rise from the chaos of 1950-53 Korean War to become an important global player continues to prompt interest from the international community, but the secret of success could boil down to a simple factor: people.
That journey was the topic du jour when 16 senior representatives of media outlets worldwide visited The Korea Times Wednesday as part of a visit to learn about the nation’s development hosted by The Korea Foundation.
Korea Times President-Publisher Park Moo-jong told the delegation that Koreans’ industriousness, willingness to work for the country and especially their ardor for education were keys to become Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
“Even though our parents suffered from war and poverty, their only goal was for their children to have a better education,” he said. “That zeal has resulted in plentiful human resources that have greatly contributed to building the country to what it is now.”
Alok Mehta, chief editor of Indian magazine National Duniya and head of the delegation, was struck by a sense of harmony among the people.
“Everyone is so amazing. People are enjoying life, without fighting, without much policing. I think that is what is driving the success,” he said.
The delegation also included journalists and editors from Ghana, East Timor, Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Algeria, Ukraine, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Papa New Guinea, Fiji and Spain.
From its export-oriented policies to its integration into the global market; its expertise in technology and its push for sustainable growth, developing nations are increasingly examining the Korean experience to foster similar growth. Seoul has sought to use that experience to act as a bridge between the developed and developing world, a role it showcased as host of the G20 summit in 2010.
The journalists were keen to learn more about hallyu, the “wave” of Korean popular culture as well as Seoul’s “green growth” drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop clean energy technology as growth engines.
Mehta said that with developing economies playing a bigger role on the global stage, it was time for countries such India, Korea and others to boost cooperation.
“Before, the priority was Europe and the United States. But I get the sense that now this is a real time for more countries to work together,” he said. “We should think more about working together for the future, including the media. Journalists are working for tomorrow, after all.”